Neha Myer is an inspiration for thousands of women who struggle making a career comeback. She prioritised and balanced a successful career and a fulfilling life. Neha’s comeback story will inspire you to be determined towards your career goals without sacrificing your personal life.
Roots and Background:
Neha grew up in different parts of the country such as Chennai, Lucknow, Kolkata and finally settled down in Bangalore. She completed graduation in Bangalore and moved to Delhi for her Masters. She got her first job in Dubai in 2007 with Jumbo Electronics foraying her entry into the retail industry. She was the only girl to be selected for an international placement from her college, highly ambitious and focused on her career aspirations.
Career and Life before the break:
Neha continued to work in Dubai for three years where she grew professionally to Manager level. Post this she decided to come back to India and worked with the Landmark group based in Bangalore where she was handing operations for Home Centre for a year.
Marriage made Neha move to Mumbai which opened up an opportunity for her in Fashion Retail with a well known brand called Steve Madden where she handled Pan-India operations for two years.
Neha took a maternity break for 6 months when she was with Steve Madden and the company was supportive of her during this time. However, Neha’s role with Steve Madden being a Pan- India operations role meant a lot of travel which got her thinking as to how she would manage her responsibilities going forward.
She says” I would go for interviews and my 6 month old son would accompany me to these interviews. At the interview i would know that i have nailed it, and when i would come back at the reception, I had my parents and 6 month old waiting for me. This was a reality check for me, because if I had to continue at a Pan India level, it meant leaving my son behind and being on a plane most of the time. This is when I decided that I’m going to resign and spend some time with my son.”
Neha was at a stage where she didn’t want to let go of her career but at the same time wanted to spend time with her son who needed her so much. “Every minute that was ticking by I started thinking that I am losing my market value”, she recalls. At this point Neha decided that she will have to take baby steps towards her ultimate career goal. She decided to do freelancing projects from home so that she could be in touch with her skills and at the same time focus on her young child.
She decided to make her career break meaningful by consulting with start-ups who needed the expertise of a person who understood retail. This meant she could decide how much time she wanted to give for these projects. The flexibility helped her to balance both work and home beautifully.
Neha continued to do freelancing projects for a year, post which an opportunity with Klay Prepschools came her way. Klay as an organisation is very supportive of women coming back after a career break which spelt good news for Neha. “The best part about Klay is that it allows employees to bring their kids into the day care. So it gives me peace of mind to know that my son is close to me in case he ever needs me.” she explains.
Neha worked with Klay as the Centre Director where she managed the operations of the Centre and thus got back into a full time role after her career break. Management, Administration and Communication being some of her core skills, Neha fit into her new role naturally. Though she knew that this was not a Pan India role, she decided that this was a good starting ground after the career break. This role got her confidence back and gave her the peace of mind of knowing her son was close to her during the entire day.
Neha worked for about a year as the Centre Director and then started growing in the organisation, therefore she moved to their Corporate Office. She started working in Corporate Business Development where she would handle the companies in Bangalore region convincing them to become partners with Klay so that Klay could provide childcare to their employees.
The company saw Neha’s commitment and dedication towards the role and today six months down the line she heads the Business Development Function Pan India. Her son still goes to Klay, while she is a part of the leadership team at the organisation.
“Your life does change after you have a child but it is not the end of the world. In fact it is a new beginning. You need to reset your objectives. Your main priority will always be your child, but at the same time it’s important to use your time wisely to find the right opportunities and make the right choices which can help you strike a balance. You need to prioritise, set your own goals for your personal and professional life, after which the sky is the limit.” she concludes.